Crashes and Wind Wreak Havoc on Stage 3 of Dubai Tour

02 February 2017

Race: Dubai Tour, Stage 3

Start/Finish: Dubai/Al Aqah, UAE

Distance: 200 kilometers

Al Aqah, UAE — Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour appeared to be a simple sprint stage, but strong crosswinds and sandstorms made a more dynamic race than expected. The chaotic day served as a learning experience for Team Novo Nordisk.

From the start of the 200-kilometer race, the winds made it extremely hard for a break to escape. Team Novo Nordisk riders were seen in every attack, but after nearly an hour of trying, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team was boxed in when the successful attack went.

The four-man breakaway quickly gained nearly six minutes when strong side winds created sand storms and caused several crashes throughout the peloton. This triggered multiple echelons to form. The race was briefly neutralized to allow for the winds and sands to calm down and all the groups came back together. The breakaway was caught inside the final four kilometers leading to a fast bunch sprint with John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) taking the win.

Joonas Henttala

“I followed the first attack and we went full gas for five to 10 minutes. I was told the whole peloton was chasing like crazy. Once they brought us back, I wasn’t able to cover any of the other moves because my legs were gassed.

It was a hard day of racing with the crosswinds, sandstorms and then a fast final. The sand started about 50-60 km into the race, and after we had taken a right turn, the crosswinds splintered the peloton into pieces.”

Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko

Today’s race was extremely unique and we’ve never raced in conditions like this before. When the sand and crosswinds hit the race, it blew the peloton apart. Our guys tried to stay together, but it is very challenging to stay together in winds like that.

This is a young team and every day we learn and gain more experience. Overall, the guys handled the chaos well and were able to regroup in time for the finish. The finish had a few hills leading up to it, so it wasn’t ideal for Quentin.

What made the day even more difficult was that our riders were trying to figure out how to handle this unique situation while surrounded by so many more experienced World Tour riders. They fought the whole day; if you aren’t fighting, you aren’t surviving a day like today. This morning, our goals were to get into the break and take on the sprint finish. Neither happened, but I’m still very proud of how we raced today.”

Medical Update—Dr. Peter Lagrou

Stephen Clancy crashed follow the feed zone. He was transported to the hospital as a precaution but all tests were negative and he was released.



  • 1st: John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo): 4:03:08
  • 2nd: Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data): same time as Degenkolb
  • 3rd: Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team): same time as Degenkolb


Team Novo Nordisk Results: 

  • Quentin Valognes: 33rd: same time as Degenkolb
  • Charles Planet: 44th: same time as Degenkolb
  • Joonas Henttala: 64th: same time as Degenkolb
  • David Lozano: 68th: 0:13 behind Degenkolb
  • Chris Williams: 102nd: 1:18 behind Degenkolb
  • Gerd de Keijzer: 113rd: 2:21 behind Degenkolb
  • Umberto Poli: 118th: 3:01 behind Degenkolb
  • Stephen Clancy: DNF

(Photo: ©TDWSport)

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